U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: Summer 1993|
Issue No: Vol. 57 No. 1
Date: Summer 1993
"Along the Road" is a hodgepodge of items of general interest to the highway community. But this is more than a miscellaneous section; "Along the Road" is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, and trends. This information comes from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.
If you are a regular reader of Public Roads, you have already noticed that something is very different about the look of this issue. The magazine is looking forward to better serving you in the future, and one way to do that is to recapture an important element from its past. We want Public Roads to once again be a forum for the discussion of current problems. We solicit your comments and your input. We recognize that there is a great deal of important and innovative highway-related work being done throughout the United States. Let us hear from you. Let us know what topics you would like covered in the magazine. "Instructions to Authors" on the inside back cover provides our address and telephone number as well as information about writing for Public Roads. However, there are two caveats: We will focus on subjects relevant to the mission and work of the Federal Highway Administration, and research and technology will remain our foundation.
Slater also served on the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission and as liaison with the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. He is secretary-treasurer of the Arkansas Bar Association. In December 1989, he was named an "Arkansas Hero" in the Arkansas Times magazine for his work to improve conditions in the Delta. He was also honored by the Arkansas Jaycees as one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Arkansans" in March 1990.
Jane F. Garvey has been selected by Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena to serve as deputy administrator of FHWA. From 1991 to her selection as deputy administrator, Garvey was director of aviation at Logan International Airport in Boston, directing airport management and capital planning. In 1988, after serving five years as the associate commissioner, she became commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, the agency responsible for construction and maintenance of the statewide network of highways, bridges, and roadside areas. As the commissioner, she was responsible for developing innovative public and private financing and new environmental programs for the agency, and she oversaw all aspects of Boston's $5 billion Central Artery/Tunnel project.
On May 6, Colorado Governor Romer signed into law a congestion/incident management-related bill that requires drivers to move their vehicles from an accident scene if the accident occurs on "the traveled portion, median, or ramp of a divided highway." The "move it" bill, patterned after similar laws in Florida and Texas does not apply if a vehicle is too badly damaged to be driven or if either driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The services of the National Commercial Vehicle Program include one-stop shopping; preclearing trucks for credentials, size and weight, and safety; reporting/audit trail; fleet management; international cross-border; and hazardous materials incident response.
This year's program inclucles presentations on the implementation in the state of Washington of ISTEA, Clean Air Act amendments, and the state's Growth Management Act; wetland banking; and public involvement using interactive computer imaging. There will also be a tour of one of the last completed stretches of I-90, addressing mitigation for historic structures and other environmental impacts.
On May 26, Kentucky kicked off a new statewide highway safety program called "Triple Jeopardy." If a motorist is stopped for speeding, drunk driving, or not wearing a seat belt the motorist will be checked for all three violations. The program is patterned after a program developed by the Knoxville (Tenn.) Police Department.
I-73 will enter North Carolina on I-77 at the Virginia state line in Surry County. It will use I-77 to the U.S. 52 Connector north of Pine Ridge and then use U.S. 52 through Stokes and Forsyth counties to U.S. 311 in Winston-Salem. From there, the highway will use U.S. 311 through Guilford and Randolph counties to U.S. 220 north of Asheboro. From there, the interstate will use U.S. 220 through Randolph, Montgomery, and Richmond counties to U.S. 1 in Rockingham and then exit the state on U.S. 1 at the South Carolina state line.
Except for the I-77 segment in Surry County, none of the highways to be used for I-73 are built to interstate standards. Although those are scheduled in the N.C. Department of Transportation's Transportation Improvement Program to be upgraded to multilane highways, additional funds will be required to bring them to interstate standards. Existing state and federal funds will be used since no additional funding for I-73 in North Carolina was designated in the federal legislation.
The Federal Highway Administration is continuing to monitor and support the education and training of state department of transportation personnel in the use of the new Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) asphalt binder equipment. The equipment and tests developed by SHRP are expected to replace the older less accurate, and less scientific asphalt binder tests for classifying asphalt cements. Currently, one trailer containing the binder equipment is being circulated through the states in the Rocky Mountain User-Producer Group, which generally corresponds to FHWA Region 8. On May 28, the trailer was moved from Wyoming to North Dakota, where it will remain for six weeks. The trailer has already visited Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; after North Dakota, the trailer will visit Montana, Idaho and the Canadian province of Alherta before the equipment is returned to the Central Federal Lands Office in Denver.
On May 14, National Incident Management Coalition sponsored a conference in New Orleans with about 220 participants representing state and local agencies that operate roadways, causeways, bridges, ferries, and transit facilities and services. This was the 11th major conference on incident management conducted over the past 18 months as part of a series jointly funded by the Federal Highway Administration and others to promote better handling of freeway accidents and other incidents. As a result of these conferences, some measures have already been taken to prevent and clear incidents and to assure traffic movement. At least five more conferences are planned; they will be held in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Princeton, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
Three new University Transportation Centers have been established since the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991; this brings the total number of centers in the program to 13. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration has revised the roles of its headquarters and field offices in interacting technically with the centers. The three new centers are:
National Center for Transportation and Industrial Productivity
Center for Transportation Studies and Research
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Newark, N.J. 07102
Contact: Louis J. Pignataro, (201) 596-3355
National Center for Transportation Management, Research, and Development
School of Graduate Studies
Morgan State University
Baltimore, Md. 21239
Contact: Frank E. Enty, (410) 319-3666
Mack-Blackwell National Rural Transportation Study Center
4190 Bell Engineering Center
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Ark. 72701
Contact: E. Walter LeFevre, (501) 575-7957
Additionally, the program has established the University Transportation Centers Clearinghouse under the direction of Ann Marie Quinn. The clearinghouse's address is The Pennsylvania State University, Research Office Building, University Park, Pa. 16802-4710. The telephone number is (814) 863-3614.
Within FHWA, field offices have been given the lead in technical interaction on highway-related activities at the centers. This interaction will be similar to that of SP&R activities at state highway agencies. The field offices will also assist the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) in the annual onsite evaluation of the centers. The National Highway Institute (NHI) at FHWA headquarters will provide a focal point at the national level. NHI will work with RSPA and the Federal Transit Administration on national policy and administrative matters.
The Federal Highway Administration announced in February that highway construction costs for the fourth quarter of 1992 increased 7.1 percent. The fourth quarter results raised the FHWA composite bid price index for highway construction costs to 107 percent of the 1987 base index for which 1987 average costs equal 100 percent.
Increases in the unit prices for portland cement concrete, bituminous concrete, structural steel, and structural concrete resulted in the overall increase in the index for the fourth quarter. There were decreases in the unit prices for excavation and reinforcing steel.
The three-quarter moving composite price index, which is obtained by combining data for the last three quarters of 1992, increased 1.6 percent from the previous three-quarter average.
Trends in highway construction costs are measured by an index of average contract prices compiled from reports of state highway contract awards for federal-aid contracts greater than $500,000. During the transition after the enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), the index reflects federal-aid contracts on National Highway System projects and pre-ISTEA federal-aid contracts exclusive of secondary and off-system projects.
The department' s Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) carry out provisions of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act of 1991 that call for a continuous, comprehensive, and coordinated transportation planning process in each state and metropolitan area. Public comments on the NPRM were due 60 days after the publication in the Federal Register.
The proposed rules stress comprehensive transportation plans which focus on developing seamless connections among transportation modes and which consider more than one mode to serve transportation needs within a given area. Among the subjects that states and metropolitan areas will consider as part of the planning process are:
A long-ange planning horizon of at least 20 years would be required for state and metropolitan plans.
The Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense announced on May 27 that the two departments will conduct a joint review to determine how to get maximum use of the DOD's Global Positioning System (GPS) to satisfy both military and civilian needs.
GPS is a space-ased positioning and navigational system that uses a network of Navstar satellites to provide very precise three-imensional position and velocity information. While the system is designed primarily to meet military requirements, the federal government wants to ensure the maximum civilian use consistent with national security needs. These civil uses are expected to grow and generate benefits such as increased transportation safety and efficiency and economic growth.
Actual and projected uses of GPS include the precise monitoring of transit buses, information enabling city drivers with special receivers to avoid congested routes in peak hours, highly accurate navigation for civil aviation, harbor entrance and coastal navigation uses for ships, and the tracking of land vehicles.
The task force will be jointly chaired by Joseph F. Canny, deputy assistant secretary of transportation for policy and international affairs, and Richard G. Howe, DOD's director for theater and tactical C3 -- command control, and communications. It will operate under the auspices of the DOT Navigation Council and the DOD Positioning Navigation Executive Committee. The task force is expected to complete its work by the end of 1993 and make a report to the two secretaries.
Neglecting the nation's roads, bridges, power distribution systems, water supplies, and waste water facilities could kill more Americans than all past 20th century wars, says civil engineer Dr. Robert L. Lytton, head of the Center for Infrastructure Engineering in the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) -- a member of The Texas A&M University System.
A regimented program is needed to repair and preserve the trillions of dollars invested in our national infrastructure, according to Lytton. Neglecting our deteriorating infrastructure will mean dangerous bridges, hazardous roads, risky water supplies, and unreliable electrical and gas distribution systems.
"The physical elements needed to support civilized living -- elements that make it possible for large numbers to live together in cities -- are taken for granted. We all would be nomads without our infrastructure," Lytton said. "I don't want to be an alarmist, but there is a great deal riding on maintaining the infrastructure."
The center is an interdisciplinary group of researchers studying infrastructure problems including converting military technology to civilian uses. The center studies the public and private works that support habitation and the transportation and occupational needs of urban society.
The cost of restoring our infrastructure will dwarf the defense budget. "Right now, the country has a 'panic management' repair policy that is extremely expensive," said Lytton; however, careful management, the latest research, and the right timing could slash the cost of infrastructure repairs by up to 60 percent.
- Texas Engineenng Expenment Station
The tunnel was conceived to meet the multiple demands of transportation, environment, and access to one of Colorado's most popular scenic tourist areas. The tunnel causes no disruption to the hundreds of wildlife species present in Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River. In addition, it does not intrude upon its pristine surroundings and is virtually undetectable from the opposite side of the river.
The entire 12-mile segment of I-70 through the Glenwood Canyon was described by former FHWA Administrator Thomas Larson as "a world class piece of environmentally sensitive engineering" and 'a scenic byway that is one of the wonders of the interstate system." With the completion of the Glenwood Canyon segment in October 1992, the entire 2,175-mile length of I-70 from Baltimore, Md., to Cove Fort, Utah, is now open.
- American Consulting Engineers Council
- National Council of Structural Engineer's Associations
A landmark agreement signed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Department of Fish and Game regarding the use of asphalt on state highways will protect the environment while speeding the delivery of needed public works improvements.
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Caltrans Chief Engineer Richard P. Weaver and Fish and Game Chief Deputy Director John Sullivan, establishes a framework to address environmental and transportation concems.
The agreement spells out guidelines for using asphalt chunks, pieces, and grindings in road embankments and shoulder backing along state highways. In addition, a joint committee of the two departments has heen created to review future technical and policy issues involving transportation projects that could affect the state's rivers and streams.
"With this agreement," said Weaver, we now have a vehicle in place to make sure all the vanous concerns of hoth departments are aired and resolved in a manner that protects the environment while allowing critical transportation improvements to be completed on schedule and within hudget."
-California Department of Transportation
The first national conference on access management for streets and highways will be conducted on August 2, 3, and 4 in Vail, Colorado. Access management is the strict control of the location, design, and operation of all driveways and public street connections onto the highway. Access management calls for a significant improvement in access design and spacing standards in recognition that the lack of access control is the largest single cumulative design element reducing roadway safety and capacity. Usually in excess of 50 percent of all traffic accidents are access related, and access control can increase capacity by 25 to 35 percent.
The conference, which is jointly sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Research Board, and Colorado Department of Transportation, will feature more than 30 presentations on subjects such as current issues in access management, legal issues, establishing a program, corridor specific plans, spacing issues, turning movement design and restrictions, local government approach, and project implementation.
For more information, contact either:
TRB, National Research Council
2101 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20418
4201 East Arkansas Ave., Rm. 291
Denver, Colo. 80222
Telephone: (303) 757-9844
Fax: (303) 757-9820
The Pan American Highway Institute and the Catholic University of Chile invite highway authorities and experts in highway and transportation activities to participate in the Second PIH Technology Transfer Centers Annual Meeting in Santiago, Chile, on September 21-25. The objective of the meeting is to share new technologies, experiences, and information to contribute to an efficient and effective technology transfer for better highway systems. At the meeting, there will be simultaneous translations in Spanish and English.
PIH was founded in 1986 to act as a network of road and transportation organizations for transferring both innovative and traditional highway technology. Presently, the network has 30 technology transfer centers in 13 countries.
For more information, contact Dr. Carlos Videla C., Director centro IPC No. 8 Chile, Escuela de Ingenieria, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Vicuna Mackenna 4860, Macul, Casilla 306, Santiago, Chile. His telephone numbers are (56-2) 5522375 or 5522372 Extensions 4245 or 4573. The fax numbers are (56-2) 5524054 or 5531000.